World Heart Day 2023 World Heart Day (September 29th) provides an opportunity to remind everyone to take care of their hearts. This year’s theme centres around the vital steps necessary to knowing [YOUR] heart. Heart health knowledge is limited so this year, World Heart Day aims to smash barriers and empower individuals to take control of their heart health and overall well-being. To read more about the campaign visit the World Heart Federations website World Heart Day 2023. ‘Heart disease and stroke is the world’s leading cause of death, claiming 20.5 million lives each year’ It is extremely important to know and understand your heart and the many factors involved in keeping your heart operating and functioning efficiently. Perth Blood Institute would like to provide helpful information about the relationship between your blood and heart health. The heart is at the core of the circulatory system and your blood is continually flowing through it. So, how the blood moves around the body, is crucial to an efficiently working heart. Blood flow and your heart In 1884, Rudolph Virchow (a physician and pathologist) suggested that thrombosis was the result of [among others] the stasis of blood flow, which since then has been recognised as a risk factor. It is important for the blood to flow unrestricted and without obstruction to the heart. When blood flow to the heart is reduced or blocked in any way, a number of serious conditions may result. Therefore, heart health and maintaining blood flow throughout the body is paramount to reducing the risk of venous thromboembolism. Thromboembolism Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are blood clots in the veins in your legs. If the clots or thrombi become dislodged, they can travel to the heart and cause serious heart conditions. Myocardial ischaemia Myocardial ischaemia occurs when the heart does not receive sufficient blood carrying oxygen. This results in blockages of the heart’s arteries which can lead to a heart attack (or myocardial infarction). When there is a lack of oxygen and nutrient rich blood reaching the heart, damage or destruction of parts of the heart muscle can occur. Atherosclerosis and blood clots are the two main causes of myocardial ischaemia. Atrial fibrillation Atrial fibrillation is an irregular or rapid heart rhythm (arrhythmia) which can lead to blood clots in the heart. Atrial fibrillation represents both the cause and result of chronic conditions associated with CVDs, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, stroke and thromboembolic events. Atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis is a build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances (plaque) in an artery. Plaque build-up can cause the arteries to narrow and restrict the blood to move easily. If a plaque bursts, this leads to a blood clot. Autoimmune disorders Common autoimmune disorders include Celiac Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. The chronic inflammation produced by an autoimmune disorder is linked to a breakdown of the endothelium (tissue that forms the lining of blood vessels), which leads to the acceleration of atherosclerosis, a major cause of CVD. To read more about CVD, heart health and thrombosis, please visit our website CVD and thrombosis. References How the Heart Works - The Heart | NHLBI, NIH Myocardial ischemia - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic Atrial fibrillation - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic Arteriosclerosis / atherosclerosis - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic Sagris, D. & Lip, G.Y.H. (2022) Atrial fibrillation, a contemporary sign of multimorbidity and irregular social inequity. Lancet Reg Health Eur.